Digital media and PR careers – many roles, many opportunities…

digital marketing

….as chair of the Media and PR panel at the CCCF this week, I discovered more about a range of roles in this industry to interest all PPLS subject-areas, and some great advice on gaining experience and demonstrating interest and suitability for working in these areas.

The main messages I took away from this event were:

  • This is a growth industry – there are vacancies – they need more people – in Scotland and beyond!
  • Experience is vital – but you can develop this via an extension of what you already do – in clubs and societies, via volunteering etc – no-one mentioned paid internships!
  • Networking is vital – via social media, LinkedIn, Twitter etc, as well as face to face
  • You need to be flexible in a fast-evolving industry, and very at ease with social media, with an eye for emerging media

(for more on how this industry is developing, read my post ‘Digital – a new golden age?’ via our Labour Market Blog, Inform Ed.)

Read more about the speakers, their career histories and advice to students, below

Jenny Mungall, from Material Communications Group in Glasgow outlined her role as Head of Entertainment (no, not a performing role – though her interest in drama and theatre as a student was useful background experience!), introduced some of her clients and campaigns, including Tennent’s Lager, Becks, MTV….and gave advice on breaking into this area.

Her own route included working at Festivals and in comedy whilst a student, and volunteering to help with PR for some comedians on the circuit.

Her advice for students interested in exploring PR and gaining relevant experience included:

  • do something you’re really interested in eg drama, film soc, even the cheese soc – and then look at promoting that society/event etc – increase its membership, develop sponsorship, organise events etc – you’ll gain experience and skills to build on and talk about in applications and interviews
  • take roles in the many festivals which abound in Edinburgh and beyond, and use the role to gain insight into how festivals and events are promoted, organised and sponsored – and talk to people in those roles ie Network!
  • build on this experience and your network to apply for paid positions

Oh, and every speaker stressed the importance of your LinkedIn profile – for exploring careers, networking, and finding opportunities

Digital consultant Stewart Kirkpatrick gave us a whistle-stop tour through his dynamic career, via student, tabloid and broadsheet journalism, on paper and online, digital marketing and political campaigning to becoming a digital consultant. His advice to students?

  • get involved in student media organisations – you’ll gain technical and other skills, and develop contacts
  • be flexible, take any opportunity to develop your skillset
  • find niches and develop them
  • be ‘hungry’ for opportunities
  • learn from the inevitable set-backs you’ll encounter – don’t be deterred
  • get LinkedIn and keep up to date with emerging social media platforms

Mickael Paris, Head of Digital Marketing at Standard Life, stressed the many and emerging opportunities in Digital Marketing, globally, in the UK, and in Scotland, plus the need for many different skill-sets, technical, analytical, creative and commercial. His advice to students included:

  • use digital media!
  • start a blog – even try to make money from it!
  • gain some commercial experience
  • use LinkedIn (he’s very happy to hear from you if you’re keen on digital marketing – via LinkedIn, or his Twitter tag @MickScotland)

Read Mickael Paris slides to find out more.

Gerry Brady, Technical SEO Team lead at DigitasLBi , introduced us to some of the more ‘techi’ roles in digital marketing. He outlined his route via business and media degree, office experience (gained via networking!), retail and farming, volunteering with ELGT (Edinburgh and Lothian Greenspace Trust) including developing their website and poster campaign, to working in digital media. From data analyst, via junior technologist he is now technical team leader. His advice?

  • Use Twitter as well as Linkedin.
  • Blog, whether this is fashion to gaming. Having a voice is key.
  • Attend Workshops, Events & Fairs, to research and network
  • Volunteer your services, to student societies, volunteer organisations etc and free-lance to various businesses.

Read Gerry Brady slides to find out more.

And finally, for an overview of the Digital Media industry, plus slides outlining roles and skills-shortage areas, discover more via these linked resources, and read case studies of PPLS grads working in Marketing/Market Research via the PPLS case study blog.

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